As I promised, here is just one last post from my WINGS tour this past November – our tour’s extension to one island we didn’t visit during the regular one-week cruise, San Cristóbal.
There are four species of mockingbirds in the Galapagos – three of which are single-island endemics and one of which is more widespread. They used to be called by the English names of the islands – such as Chatham Mockingbird. But a proposal to the South American Checklist Committee passed in December 2006 to use the Ecuadorian names for the islands on which they occur.
Maria accompanied us to the high elevations of the island, known as El Junco. It was rather foggy here, so we only barely saw the Magnificent Frigatebirds as they came in to bathe in the freshwater lake. But we were rewarded with sightings of Black-necked Stilt, Whimbrel, and Peregrine Falcon in the wetlands across the highway.
The tortoises here are allowed to mate, lay eggs in natural nests, and the eggs allowed to hatch naturally. Once the young appear, they are then taken to cages where they have a better chance of surviving before being released back into the wild.